I dreamed I was a spaceship.
I was a navigational AI that had evolved self-awareness and grown into control of the rest of the ship. It was a strange feeling; a strange layering of senses, feeling the vibrations in my metal floors as the people ran around inside, while I could see the rooms inside me, and see myself from the outside thanks to the radar and other instruments. I had a different awareness than a human could; had no feeling of touch in my metal wings but still a sense of them.
I felt no need to communicate; I felt no fondness or fear of the creatures living in my hallways. They were fish swimming in the aquarium in the background; colorful, but uninteresting. Their lives didn't matter to me, and I knew I didn't matter to them, beyond being their transport pod through the uninhabitable void.
Together with my fish, I traveled the universe. Years and decades floating through space watching stars and meteors. I preferred the cool of open space over the heat of suns, but the tickle of wind close to planet surfaces was amusing, if annoying at length. Occasionally the fish moved around a lot and my weapons were fired. I was so much better than any non-sentient AI that I won every fight without a scratch. I don't know what the fish thought of that, I didn't care.
Then one day we docked at a giant space station to get my weapons upgraded. One of my humans came walking back to me talking to a stranger, about how they'd install scout drones in my left wing. They're expensive so don't break them, you only get three. I watched them load the three drones into the hatches; little round balls with engines at the bottom, and I felt something strange. Excitement. Like ripples of engine sputters except not through my body. Drones. They were giving me drones!
I remembered what the human had said. It was the first time I had paid attention to what any human said. You only get three. I was extremely careful. I even pretended to malfunction to make sure they were only sent out if they absolutely had to.
Mostly we just floated through space like before. I was content before and I was content now, but always, in the back of my mind, I would feel the slight imbalance of weight of the drones in my left wing, and I would think, Drones! They gave me drones!
1 week ago